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Live Webchat with Oliver 'Change Your Life' Burkeman, Friday 7 Jan, 1-2pm

(80 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 04-Jan-11 10:08:20

Journalist Oliver Burkeman is joining us on Friday 7th January at 1pm to talk about his latest book 'Help!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done' which is published this week.

Solving the problem of human happiness is a subject that has occupied some of history's greatest philosophers, from Aristotle to Paul McKenna. But how do we sort the good ideas from the bad ones? In the last five years Oliver Burkeman has travelled to some of the strangest corners of the 'happiness industry' in an attempt to find out. In 'HELP!: How to Become Slightly Happier Get a Bit More Done', he presents his findings. An exploration that punctures many of self-help's most common myths, it also offers clear-headed, practical advice on a range of topics from stress, procrastination and insomnia, to laughter, creativity and wealth.

Oliver Burkeman is a feature writer for the Guardian. He is a winner of the Foreign Press Association's Young Journalist of the Year award, and has been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. He writes a popular weekly column on psychology, This Column Will Change Your Life, and has reported from London, Washington, and New York.

Join us on Friday at 1pm to chat with Oliver or if you're unable to join us, send a question in advance to Oliver to this thread.

MmeLindt Tue 04-Jan-11 10:48:04

I get a lot more done when I log out of MN and stay away from Twitter.

Hello Oliver,
I would like to know what he thinks of modern social media - is it a hindrance or a help in our lives? And how much is too much?

Hammerlikedaisies Tue 04-Jan-11 11:01:22

Hi Oliver, really enjoy your column.

Feeling good about yourself makes you happy. Giving something to someone, having your views on MN agreed with, looking good all make you happy. None of these are things that can be bought or legislated for.

So my Q is: What is the role of government in this? Beyond ensuring that everyone has a roof, how can they help people to be happy?

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 04-Jan-11 17:41:17

sounds like he is very young, enthusiastic and optimistic....completely opposite to me then, I'll try to think of a suitable question!

CeliaFate Tue 04-Jan-11 18:08:13

Hi Oliver. Can you list 3 things everyone should and could do to be a bit happier?

hobbgoblin Tue 04-Jan-11 20:37:22

I need to read up on you first but...

Can you be poor and happy in this world without being a monk?

TallyB Tue 04-Jan-11 21:45:38

Hi Oliver, enjoy your column :-)

My question is: due to the the financial crisis and subsequent government cuts, huge numbers of people are going to lose their jobs (myself included) and as a consequence of that, many will lose their homes. How can these people remain optimistic?

ali38 Tue 04-Jan-11 22:33:46

The key to happiness is knowing where you're going - having some goals. The winds of change may not always blow in our favour but we can adjust our sails as long as we know where we're headed, even if we get blown off track occasionally.
Also - think about what you want - not what you don't want! Try it - it works! We may not always be able to control what happens but we are able to choose our response - isn't that what 'response-ability' means?!

swallowedAfly Wed 05-Jan-11 08:46:41

Message withdrawn

toomuchmonthatendofthemoney Wed 05-Jan-11 13:28:28

what advice would you offer someone who is a world class procrastinator? (apart from, get off your arse).

maxmissie Wed 05-Jan-11 13:52:29

I'd second some advice on getting motivated to do stuff (not boring day to day stuff but interesting stuff) rather than sitting around watching TV, browsing mumsnet etc!

Also any advice on how to stop feeling so bitter about life, mainly other people's lives, so much? Since my ds was very poorly last year I can't stop myself thinking how other people seem to have such easy lives (although I do know it may appear this way on the surface, it's very often not the case) and wishing people would have more of a bumpy ride in life (although I don't wish nasty stuff on them just that they should realise not everything is as easy as they think it is).

God I sound like a right bitch! I just want to be happier and not feel like everything negative happens to me and my family.

rosietoes Wed 05-Jan-11 21:14:56

Hi Oliver!

Good questions toomuchmonthatendofthemoney, maxmissie, I could use some of that advice as well!

Don't worry, maxmissie, not all the negative stuff is headed your direction, some is falling my way.

We need a good umbrella!

longdarktunnel Thu 06-Jan-11 07:33:24

Hi Oliver, I'm a big fan...

Do you think you can "think yourself happy"? If your life is pretty rubbish, is it possible to force yourself to be happy by thinking or acting differently?

Rannaldini Thu 06-Jan-11 10:32:19

Love your work!

Having had the money and time for navel gazing I have purchased a fair bit of therapy. The most useful but obvious (and yet I needed to pay to be told it) seems to be acceptance therapy ie accept where you are now and how you feel about it and then move forward.

What do you really think about the use of therapy to find happiness?


aliceAliceM Thu 06-Jan-11 10:54:13

Bonjour Oliver. A question from France : the title of your book implies the readers would like to "get a bit more done": don't you think that the very title of the book very much refers to the consumption society, where everyone should be productive, whose aim would be to "get things DONE" ? I don't have a "to do list"(what a horrible term)and I see proscrastination as one of the great pleasures in life.

Hammerlikedaisies Thu 06-Jan-11 18:56:22

Oliver, what do you know about teenagers? In particular, how do you convince a 15-year-old that it is worth working for his exams because he'll feel like such a twit if he doesn't?

When he was 4, deferred gratification worked like this: if you are good when we go shopping, WHEN WE GET HOME you will be able to watch a DVD. He believed me and everything in the garden was rosy. Now he doesn't believe a word I say and thinks he knows best. He doesn't! Can you help?

notsohotchic Fri 07-Jan-11 10:46:58

Hi Oliver,
Just wondering what you think of medication for depression? Sorry, haven't read your column, don't know if you've covered this. I have been depressed recently due to events beyond my control.I have always preferred to avoid drugs.I am much more inclined to feel depressed in winter, could it be s.a.d.? Do you believe in that?

personanongrata Fri 07-Jan-11 11:24:10

Oliver, can you expand a bit on 'lifehacking' and what it actually means? What do you do to hack your life? Because the stuff about how irrational we all are about money (saving in one account while running up debts on a credit card) rang true!

Your book cheered me up - moderation in everything and all you can essentially do is put in time and effort (parenting, relationships etc). Sounds good to me!

personanongrata Fri 07-Jan-11 11:26:29

Well, not ALL things, or that would be extremist! wink

Starbear Fri 07-Jan-11 11:36:02

Oh! I forgot it's January I must go out and buy a self-help book!
Oliver, How do I stop this bad habit of buying books to make life better then finding that I have a stack of books and not moved from the sofa to get those things done? grin
I keep meaning to sell them in a boot sale with my other life enhancing junk e.g Gym ball, various keep-fit videos, keep-fit clothes, Wii fit, weights, food processor, bread maker,(yes, stupid me) slow cooker medicine ball & Bicycle. smile

jepa Fri 07-Jan-11 11:45:23

Hi Oliver
Actually I find it quite hard to be happy- not sure why
I have two very happy and healthy children who I adore
A job which though stressful I love, lots of lovely friends and family, a pretty good relationship with my partner.
So why am I not bouncing around full of happiness?
I am very very aware of how awful life can be so I guess really my question is how do we appreciate what we do have ?

OliverBurkeman Fri 07-Jan-11 12:18:13

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Jan-11 12:42:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Misterroberts Fri 07-Jan-11 12:46:53

Is it true that all your best jokes are supplied by your Guardian colleagues?

blouseenthusiast Fri 07-Jan-11 12:49:53

In particular the famously good at pub quiz colleagues?

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